From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
A group of members of the All Progressive Congress (APC) loyal to the former Minister of State, Agriculture and Rural Development, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri have opened a parallel state secretariat of the party in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The National Caretaker and Extraordinary Committee led by the Governor of Yobe State, Mai Mala Buni had recognised Mr Jothan Amos and Alabo Martins as state caretaker chairman and secretary respectively with party secretariat situated along Melford Okilo Expressway Yenagoa.
However the factional leadership led by Mr Ebierien Fala Itubor which proclaimed itself leaders of the party recently opened the new secretariat at a former campaign building located at Dimrose junction, Isaac Boro Expressway, used by Lokpobiri in the run up to the 2019 governorship primaries of the state.
According to investigations, the decision to open the parallel secretariat is connected to the tussle for the control of the party structure between Lokpobiri and the leader of the party in the state and Minister of State for Petroleum, Chief Timipre Sylva ahead the 2023 general elections.
The aggrieved members of the party were said to have been angry that Sylva has neglected the party after the 2019 governorship elections.
They also alleged that Sylva had treated party issues with levity which led to the poor showing of the party in the 2020 senatorial bye-elections and the gale of defections that has hit the party in recent times.
Sylva was also accused of not initiating a stakeholders meeting to iron out issues affecting the progress and development of the party.
Findings indicated that the Itubor led faction of the party had before his decision to open the parallel secretariat wrote to the Buni led National Caretaker Committee claiming that the gale of defection of party members to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state can only be halted and genuine reconciliation made if it ignored claims made by the loyalists of Sylva on the activities of the party in the state.
However loyalists of Sylva through a group known as the Timipre Sylva Supreme Ambassadors Coordinators from Sagbama Local Government Area by Mr Ebikewenemor Robert Romeo, dismissed the claim against Sylva, insisting that there is no faction in Bayelsa APC.
Also speaking, the party’s Organizing Secretary, Mr Tari Emperi said Sylva has proven himself as a credible leader that accommodates all party members and a performing minister that has attracted more development to the state despite the party affiliation of the state government.
He said the party is more united than before with Chief Timipre Sylva despite the frivolous claim of faction.